C I V I L    M A R R I A G E    I S    A    C I V I L    R I G H T.

A N D N O W I T ' S T H E L A W O F T H E L A N D.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Sunday Drive: Lesley Gore, California NIghts

One need not live in California to feel the bittersweet memory of holding hands by the shore, and love long departed.  Lesley Gore sings the 1967 hit:

Friday, July 26, 2019

Waitin' for the Weekend

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Sunday Drive: Fly Me to the Moon

Tony Bennett sings the classic love song, paired here with images from the first trip to the surface of the Moon and back - fifty years ago.  I watched it on TV as a youth - and now I am an old man, remembering the summer of 1969, its sights and sounds, its tastes and smells, all the textures of my life back then, when anything was possible:  so near in memory, though gone irretrievably now.

My, how time flies.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Waitin' for the Weekend

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Theresa May on Absolutism and Tribalism

As a foreigner, I will forbear to judge Mrs. May's tenure at the head of the British government; but in one of her last speeches as Prime Minister, she has some things to say about the corrosion of democracy in Britain that are just as applicable to the American scene.

As Mrs. May observes, the disintegration of democracy, civility, and fraternity seems to be happening all over the world -- and with alarming speed, is what I say. Until just a couple of years ago, it was still possible to believe that sanity and good sense would somehow prevail among the peoples of the world and here at home; now I am not so sure.

But there this weary old man must leave you to make your own reflections.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Sunday Drive: The Ink Spots, Java Jive

This ought to put a smile on your face this morning.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Waitin' for the Weekend

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Sunday Drive: Eva Cassidy, Over the Rainbow

A belated offering for Stonewall 50.  Nobody can touch Judy Garland's immortal rendering of this song; but Eva takes a completely different approach and creates a spiritual anthem of hope and longing, love and loss, that reaches into the deep waters of the soul.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Thoughts on Stonewall 50, Part 2

This is not a picture of us - but it shows the way we felt.

Some continuing physical ailments have kept me feeling tired and listless, but I don't want to leave my truckbuddies in suspense, so I'll say a little more now to make a proper conclusion of what I started last week.

Minor afflictions have been assailing me for a couple of months now, as if the encroachments of age all got a big hurry-up push for some reason.  I still have hope that things will return to normal soon, especially some very annoying difficulties with locomotion - but I have come to realize that at this age, there is no guarantee.  Makes a fellow rather pensive, when he recalls that only a few years ago, something as simple as rising from a chair and strolling into the kitchen for a cup of coffee was so easy as to be an entirely spontaneous, practically unconscious action.  But time marches on, even if we can't - like it or not.

Last Friday afternoon, M.P. and I discovered by chance that a Gay Pride Festival was taking place not a mile from where we live - imagine that.  He had been to a couple of Pride things down in Dallas, years ago, but I had never been to any Pride event in my life.  So we decided to go join the party, after we had taken care of some tasks here at home and run some necessary errands.

We arrived just as night fell, about 9 p.m., when the festival was in its last hour, and it seemed most of the crowd had already started leaving.  It was not a very big festival, being contained within about the area of a single city block.  From the parking area, we strolled through the gates and down a short midway of souvenir stands and food trucks before we reached the music area - a smallish, brightly lit stage hung with rainbow streamers, and a happy crowd of perhaps a couple hundred people, mostly 20-something, standing in front of it.

Fortunately, a small section of metal bleachers had been thoughtfully provided at one side for the old folks to sit on, and we did.  I noticed there were several young hetero couples (I almost wrote hippie couples) milling about with babes in arms or tykes in strollers - something I had never seen at any gay-themed function before.  My, how times have changed.

There had been a crowning or two or three before we got there - not sure what exactly that was for - and one fetching young man was walking around in ordinary clothes but with a beautiful crown of  rainbow-colored jewels on his head.  Everyone seemed pleasant, relaxed, and smiling.  A couple of folks brought their dogs on leashes - one was a lovely brown and white collie mix, it seemed, and the other was a gorgeous great big "Saint Pyrenees," which I never heard of before.  We walked along, enjoying the unaccustomed liberty of holding hands - M.P.'s strong arm was keeping me from stumbling over the uneven ground - how nice it was to realize that no one cared a bit what we did.

We arrived at the music area just as the emcee was preparing to introduce the last acts of the day.  He or she (I never caught the name) was in appearance a very pretty blonde with a perfect figure, wearing a sparkly white party dress, circa 1960 - giving the impression of being Marilyn Monroe's younger, more modest sister.  And she was telling the crowd that early that morning, when she was posting signs around the park advertising the festival, someone drove by and flipped her a bird.  "That," she said, "is why we are here tonight, and why we need to keep celebrating Pride, in the face of whatever condemnation we might get.  We're here, we're queer, and we have a right to celebrate who we are" - or something like that.  The crowd, of course, roared approval, and so did M.P. and I, or at least I waved my hand and did a plausible imitation of roaring.

She then introduced a tanned, smiling, muscular, good-looking young man with curly hair, who was wearing only a denim vest, cut-off shorts, and cowboy boots.  Most appealing, I must say.  And he likewise gave the crowd some inspiring thoughts from his personal experience, ending with, "So if you were raised in a church that condemned you, and some preacher or youth pastor told you that you were not good enough for God to love you, you just look around here at all your brothers and sisters celebrating Pride with you today, and don't ever doubt that you are fearsomely and fabulously made!"  This also got a big roar from the audience.

The he very creditably sang what seemed like a medley of a modern song with an old disco song, but as the music was so loudly amplified, and I was sticking my fingers in my ears to keep them from exploding, I couldn't quite catch the lyrics.  At length, after giving the crowd a good work-out, he and another singer, a young black or Latina woman, got several people from the crowd to come up on stage and do a group song-and-dance, which looked like great fun, though once again - too loud for my old ears to appreciate.  About halfway through that, we got up and decided to go hunt for food, since the closing hour was fast approaching.

On our way back down the little midway, I suddenly realized that what I wanted very much and had never actually had was a rainbow flag.  So we stopped at the first tent that sold such things and I got a medium-sized one on a stick, for only five bucks.  For his part, M.P. suddenly discovered a passion for a black silk folding fan with rainbow-colored sequins all over it - eight bucks.  Then we had a very short debate on what kind of food to get, and quickly decided on fried catfish and cheese fries, served from a great big food truck by a very friendly black lady, who I think gave us old geezers a larger-than-usual portion - no doubt she could tell we enjoy eating good food.  So we took that home with us and had a scrumptious little supper on the breakfast bar, listening to our favorite divas on the radio, and didn't have to cook or even wash up.  A tasty end to a happy outing.

Well now, fellas, I'm sure you are thinking this little story sounds like a whole lot of nothing, and maybe you are right.  But you young bucks and big-city folks have to understand that M.P. and I never go anywhere - certainly can't afford any night life, even if we wanted it, and don't even eat out at restaurants.  And we have no gay friends anywhere near to visit with.  So it really was quite a treat to spend an hour with our "tribe" and for once in a long, long time, feel free to just be ourselves in public.  That happy, relaxed feeling that I haven't felt in ages.  It put a smile on both our faces - just to feel that rare kind of peace again, of belonging, of acceptance.

And I thought, now this really is what it is all about - live and let live - and why is that so hard?  For the rest of the world, I mean.  Here we were at this little festival in a park deep in the heart of Texas, and everybody was nice, nobody was ugly, everybody was happy and peaceful, all ages, races, genders, and colors - nobody was cussing or fighting or showing their nakedness - nobody drunk or stoned or out of line - just a little space of light and sound, laughter and glitter, and what is so damn wrong with that?

Now that, fellas, is what Pride means to me, and I'm so glad we got the chance to go.  Because isolated here in the middle of deep-red Texas, listening via internet to all the angry voices and dreary news of hate and violence and ugliness, it's too easy to forget that we are not alone.  And that's the main lesson of Stonewall, isn't it?  That we are not alone, not powerless, and have just as much right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as anyone else.  That we can live freely, and love whom we love.  And fifty years on from Stonewall, we still have to believe that in the long run, love will win out over hate, as long as we don't allow the hate into our own hearts.

I had a good time.

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